June 20, 2012 - 15:39 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - On June 28, Dr. Burcu Gursel will present a critical exploration of three works considered by many as groundbreaking in Armenian-Turkish rapprochement for their treatment of the discovery of Armenian ancestry in Turkey in a lecture at NAASR entitled “Sentimental Kinships of Genocide: Tragic (Mis)recognition in My Grandmother, The Bastard of Istanbul, and The Grandchildren.”
According to The Armenian Weekly, spanning the genres of memoir, fiction, and oral history, these works by Fethiye Cetin, Elif Safak, and Ayse Gul Altinay are analyzed by Gursel as cornerstones of what can be called sentimental literature proper in recent Turkish-language treatments of the Armenian Genocide.
Much like historic examples of sentimental literature that maintain and reproduce imperial and nationalist agendas against the grain of their own social protest and ethical malaise, these works assume a direct relationship between showcasing pain, on the one hand, and catharsis, moral edification, and social cohesion, on the other.
In these three works, the drama of recognizing ancestral identity and history functions not as the tragic leveling of ideology but instead as the foundation of its reincarnation. Dependent on the very mythologies and fantasies of personal biological lineage that they appear to “pluralize” or “destabilize,” these works reproduce the thinking they proclaim to be challenging.
Gursel received her bachelor’s from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in comparative literature and literary theory from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at Sabanci University and most recently was a post-doctoral fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin). She currently lives in Istanbul and is finalizing her book manuscript based on her dissertation, “Invasive Translations: Violence and Mediation of the False-Colonial, France and Ottoman Egypt (1780-1840).”